Connecting state and local government leaders
Local governments seeking transformative impacts must recognize that threats, risks and trauma are daily conditions experienced by low-income communities and people of color, according to a report, which recommends a variety of actions.
Municipalities seeking transformative equity impacts must recognize that threats, risks and trauma are daily conditions experienced in low-income communities and communities of color, according to a PolicyLink report. But by bringing together different funding streams, local governments can leverage their American Rescue Plan Act funds for greater equity impact, and cities and counties could coordinate on partnerships and projects that combine investments in both physical and civic infrastructure, the report contends.
Here are 10 priorities for advancing racial equity by using ARPA funds, according to the report:
- Explicitly name racial equity as a goal, with specific targets to produce results at scale.
- Engage historically underserved communities in prioritizing investments.
- Connect unemployed and low-wage workers with good jobs and careers.
- Stabilize and grow businesses owned by people of color and immigrants.
- Restore and expand public services that deliver critical, physical and care infrastructure to disadvantaged communities.
- Invest in frontline workers and covid-impacted and deprived communities.
- Increase community ownership of land and housing.
- Strengthen civic infrastructure that builds the power and capacity of marginalized communities.
- Prioritize a few deep, cross-sector, high-impact equity investments.
- Track disaggregated data to ensure accountability to equity goals.
Living Wages Deliver Good Jobs
Many cities nationwide are making impacts with transformative equity projects and initiatives, including those advancing jobs with livable wages. For example, under a public-private partnership in Oakland, California to redevelop an old Army base, 50% of apprenticeship hours went to veterans, people with conviction records, the long-term unemployed and others facing barriers to unemployment. This is double of Oakland's contract requirements, Next City reports.
Meanwhile, in St. Paul, Minnesota, the living wage for public sector jobs was recently raised to $20. This elevated the base pay for 480 entry-level employees, 40% being people of color, according to the StarTribune.
Using ARPA Resources to Support Civic Infrastructure
According to the PolicyLink report, local governments should:
- Invest directly in the community-based organizations that are credible for delivering needed services to marginalized residents, including organizations focused on organizing tenants and workers to advocate for their rights, according to the report.
- Invest in effective intermediaries who can administer larger programs and deliver resources to smaller, community-based organizations that can deploy them in underserved communities.
- Fund participatory budgeting processes that focus on engaging excluded communities in selecting investments.
Nevertheless, many states and localities still are considering how to use all their ARPA funds, while some small towns are not accepting the cash because they say they either don’t need it or don't want the burden of reporting to the federal government how they are using it.
For more information from the PolicyLink report click here.
Andre Claudio is an assistant editor at Route Fifty.